White House dials back Trump’s vow to clear Puerto Rico’s debt

The New York Times reports: The Trump administration on Wednesday walked back the president’s apparent vow to wipe out Puerto Rico’s debt, suggesting that the island would have to solve its own fiscal woes despite the catastrophic damage it has endured from two powerful hurricanes.

“I wouldn’t take it word for word with that,” Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said on CNN in reference to President Trump’s suggestion that the United States might clear Puerto Rico’s debt.

Mr. Mulvaney said that the administration would be focusing its efforts on helping Puerto Rico rebuild from storm damage but that the commonwealth would continue to proceed through the debt restructuring process it was undertaking before the storm.

“Puerto Rico is going to have to figure out how to fix the errors that it’s made for the last generation on its own finances,” Mr. Mulvaney said.

For more than a year, Puerto Rico has clashed with investors who hold slivers of its $73 billion debt, and who have pushed the United States territory to pay up.

Confusion over the future of that debt was ignited on Tuesday when Mr. Trump raised the prospect of erasing it. [Continue reading…]

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